By Tom Breedlove, Director of Care.com HomePay
The Affordable Care Act has fundamentally changed the way most Americans obtain and pay for health insurance – and that is especially true for nannies and other household employees. Since there is an individual mandate for all citizens to have health insurance (or pay a hefty fine), Open Enrollment is now a big deal every year.
From November 1st through December 15th, nannies can purchase a health insurance policy on the California marketplace to ensure they’re covered beginning January 1, 2018. Nannies that earn less than $48,000 per year can potentially qualify for federal subsidies to lower the cost of their premiums – assuming of course their families are paying them legally.
The other way a nanny can have her health insurance costs lowered is for the family to chip in. Although they are not required to by law, contributing to a nanny’s health insurance premiums benefits both parties because any money paid by the family is considered non-taxable compensation. This means neither the nanny nor the family will have federal or state taxes associated with that portion of the nanny’s pay.
Note: Families that have 2 or more household employees must purchase a group policy through SHOP (at http://www.coveredca.com/forsmallbusiness) if they want their contributions to be non-taxable.
At HomePay, we’re set up to handle health insurance contributions as part of a nanny’s payroll. If you have questions about how this works, or anything else related to payroll or taxes, just reach out to us at (888) 273-3356. We’re happy to help!Read More
On a daily basis when we check the news or social media, we are bombarded with one devastating environmental disaster after another. It seems so consistent that it has us wondering what will happen next? When will “The Big One” strike? The single best thing we can do for our loved ones is to be educated and prepared for an emergency. Your list of loved ones does not just include yourself, your children and your immediate family; it also includes nannies and babysitters, extended family, friends and neighbors. Think about who to share your family plan with and your emergency contact.
Many people wonder what do we prepare for exactly? And how do we begin?
Know what to prepare for. Think about the most common emergencies and what might be unique to where you live. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, there are 13 federally identified threats to Los Angeles that include earthquakes and fires.
Plan for evacuations and locate meeting places. Your family may need to evacuate your home for a number of reasons. Make sure every family member knows where to go. This includes extended family, nannies and babysitters, neighbors and friends that may need to help. Depending on the emergency, your family will need to have multiple meeting places.
Inside the home: During an earthquake, be sure everyone knows to stay away from windows and light fixtures, book cases and any other furniture that can fall over. For children, the best way to prepare for an earthquake is to locate the best place to take cover in each room in the house. What if an earthquake strikes while they are eating dinner? Sleeping in their bedroom? Practice your emergency drill in each room of your home.
If there is a fire in your home, what is the quickest escape route? Show children where to go once they do escape outside.
In your neighborhood: Choose a place in your neighborhood that is easy for family members to meet in case you do need to evacuate your home. It could be a neighbor’s house, a mall parking lot, or by the big tree on the corner of the street.
Outside your neighborhood: What happens if an emergency happens and meeting in your home or your neighborhood meeting spot is not an option? Family members could be spread out at work and school. Choose a place where everyone can meet. This could be a friend’s house, your church or a library. Again, make sure nannies, babysitters and any other caregivers know these plans and where they are. Feel free to include a map along with your emergency phone numbers.
Be sure to have a meeting place outside of your city. You never know when danger can strike and you are far away from home. Do you have relatives or friends that live outside of Los Angeles? If not, then find a few hotels that are easily accessible and have their phone numbers and addresses written down so you do not have to do an internet search in the middle of an evacuation. If you have pets this is especially important. Find pet friendly hotels ahead of time so you will feel confident your whole family, pets included, can evacuate if need be.
If you know ahead of time that you and your family may need to evacuate, don’t wait! Evacuate early to give your family the best chance at staying safe. This also helps to keep roads clear for firefighters or police to move quickly to the hazard so they can do their jobs. If you need to evacuate quickly or at night, don’t be stuck running around looking for shoes, medicine or a flashlight. Have all the important things ready in a bag that is easy to grab.
The Los Angeles Fire Department recommends having the six “P’s” ready.
Also have first aid kits on hand, and consider having emergency grab bags for your office and/or car as well. Make sure that your nanny’s vehicle is also equipped with necessary items!
The American Red Cross has a great website where you can learn how to better prepare yourself depending on what threat or emergency you and your family may be at risk for.
Also be sure to check out the link provided on our Facebook page from The Nanny Doctor about how to speak with children about gun violence. The tips she provides are not just helpful for speaking about gun violence, but all disasters and scary things that children may be exposed to.
If you have any emergency tips, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.Read More
It’s time to celebrate your nanny! National Nanny Recognition Week is September 24-30. This is a special week set aside every year to honor your nanny and show her how much you appreciate everything she does for your family. It’s a time for your children to show gratitude to their nanny for being such a positive role model. Remembering to say “Thank you” to your nanny throughout the year is so important, and here are some ways to make her feel extra fabulous this week!
1. CREATIVE APPRECIATION
If your children are musical, have them sing a song (or write a poem) to thank your nanny. It will make her smile and it’s super creative for the kids to write their own lyrics.
2. DRAW A THANK YOU CARD
Are your children great artists? Have them create a special thank you card for your nanny.
3. PAMPER YOUR NANNY
Is your nanny working 10 hour days? Gift your nanny a relaxing day at the spa or treat her to a massage.
4. GIFT OF EDUCATION
Has your nanny always wanted to take a special class to add to her list of skills or learn another language? Sponsor her to attend the International Nanny Association conference, Save a Little Life CPR Class, take a cooking class, or attend a RIE class.
Tell your nanny how much you appreciate her, and then gift her a bonus or a health insurance stipend to contribute to her well-being.
6. WORDS OF KINDNESS
Simply say thank you and tell your nanny how wonderful she is. It feels good to be loved and hear positive things!
7. PAID DAY OFF
Treat your nanny to a paid day off. Many nannies work long hours, so they will really appreciate finding the time to visit the dentist, get a haircut, or treat them to a mani/pedi. Feeling polished is a win/win for everyone
8. THROW A NANNY PARTY
Decorate the house, make some cupcakes, put on your nannie’s favorite music, and celebrate her awesomeness!
9. DINNER AT A FAVORITE RESTAURANT
Many times nannies spend hours preparing meal plans for the week, grocery shopping, and cooking delicious meals. Treat your nanny to a night off from cooking and send her out to her favorite restaurant.
10. MAKE A DONATION
Do you already spoil your nanny and treat her like part of the family? Maybe there is a cause that is near and dear to your nanny’s heart? You and the kids could donate your time or make a kind donation? Get creative and think outside of the box!
HAVE A FABULOUS WEEK CELEBRATING YOUR EDUCATED NANNIES!Read More
Natalie Oman, LA based mom of two daughters and a yorkie, encourages moms to take 5 minutes (or less) to improve their lives at her Instagram @5minMommy.
Minimalism is all the rage- documentaries on Netflix, Tiny House plans, Facebook Groups and Meetups all dedicated to the practice of minimal living. BUT if you have children, this may seem like mission impossible.
Kids have an uncanny knack for picking up, receiving, holding onto, emotionally attaching to, being obsessed with THINGS. The amount of things my 3 year old encounters on a daily basis are mind boggling. I don’t even understand how 3 year olds didn’t die of boredom before toys. Just kidding. I know how they didn’t die- they developed attention span, relationships, and creativity to play with their environment not toys. It’s crazy though in this world to live like that, right?! I mean, we aren’t living in caves with only sticks and rocks. We want our kids to have the good stuff in life! We want them to enjoy life and not be disadvantaged compared to their peers. BUT do toys, clutter, and more STUFF accomplish those things?
Whelp let me tell you what has happened in our household… Like so many other new parents, we didn’t know what to buy, what we would need, how we would raise our first little girl. So we took the advice of others, received countless hand me downs, and filled up our house with toys and kids books and DVDs and parenting books and all the other things that young families NEED…or do they? I am so grateful for all the gifts lavished upon us when we were building our family. HOWEVER, I wish I had embraced a minimalistic and clutter free way of life before bringing kids into this world – kids who observe my every move. LITERALLY every move. When we moved (5 times in 4 years), I was stuck packing box after box after box of STUFF that I didn’t need, use, or even necessarily want. I remember parking my 18 month old baby girl in front of PBS kids so she wouldn’t need me to hold her every second so I could pack boxes. She wasn’t interested in TV at that point but she gained an interest because mommy was busy with stuff. She realized TV could entertain her and “hold her hand” when she was bored/lonely/etc. Now I’m all for teaching your kids to help, but at 18 months the desire to UNpack is greater than the desire to pack…
I wish I would have created a play space outside of the bedroom that my girls shared when we moved into our first house. Instead all the toys were kept in their room but when the littlest was sleeping, the oldest would watch TV because she didn’t have her own space to play. I wish I would have “thinned the herd” of toys BEFORE we moved. I wish I would have made donating toys a regular weekly/monthly habit, not a traumatic, once-in-a-great-while thing. I wish I would have had my girls practice making gifts/cards instead of buying our friends and family more toys/things.
So needless to say, I am on this journey with you. Starting is the hardest part. Here is what I have learned on the first part of my mission to live Minimalist with Kids.
Communicate Your Why
Children have an incredible capacity for memory. If you repeat your reasons, your positives, your mantras, kids will learn them. They are subconscious little sponges that soak up and apply everything they hear. As they are watching TV, attending school, and live in our consumer-obsessed culture, they are absorbing and implementing that culture in their own life. How much MORE do we need to refocus them on our new family practice of minimalism. Write notes on the mirror saying “people not stuff” or post in the kitchen “joy not clutter” or in the car say “contentment not consumerism”.
Remind them of the joy of giving and donating. Travel and show them the poverty that surrounds them so they can be grateful with what they have. Watch documentaries or listen to podcasts about intentional living and minimalism. Make up songs, repeat catchy sayings, and fill your home with posts reminding your family of the WHY.
Teach By Example
Kids are pretty smart- when it comes to implementation, they can catch a hypocrite red-handed. Part of the reason to Communicate Your Why is to have them keep you accountable. Show them how you ENJOY purging, selectively buying, choosing your obligations, putting away your few possessions, decluttering, stressing less, and embracing minimalism in your own life. If you don’t ENJOY it, how can you expect them to want to do it too? When you purge the house of your own useless belongings, kids will notice a difference. Start with your own adult possessions, move onto office/kitchen/living rooms and let kids see how it affects your life and demeanor.
Also, decide how minimal you want yourself and family to be. Are you going to only have one chair in your living room and 3 t-shirts to wear? Are you going to have a limit on how much you store in the garage/basement/attic? Are you going to focus on the purging or the selective buying? One size does NOT fit all when it comes to Minimalism. Each family is different so you have to choose what works for you.
Make it FUN not a chore
“Fill this box with toys to get rid of” and “clean up these toys or I’m throwing them away!” and “I’m giving this away because you don’t like it” are all phrases that have come out of my mouth in the frustration of decluttering. Does that seem like a conscious choice for my kids or a dictator deciding for them? Would you want to declutter if your mom is a stressed out crazy person wielding the power of throwing away toys willie nillie??? As the previous steps explain, they need to understand the WHY and they need to see your EXAMPLE.
Try giving them a purpose for decluttering. We had a friend with a new baby that we were going to give some toys to. I showed my girls a picture of the little newborn baby and told them to fill up a small box of things that this new baby could use or like. It was amazing how fast they filled up the box. I’ve also asked for toys to be donated to school/church so that they can play with those toys when they go there. Much easier to get rid of a toy in their room if they can see it when they get to school/church.
Have a Plan
As with any new habit or lifestyle, you have to have a plan. It is fine to declutter at Spring Cleaning, but if you want to LIVE a LIFE of Minimalism, you need to have a plan on how to implement it on a daily basis. Cleaning up toys before dinner, weekly house decluttering, monthly donations, volunteering with the poor, traveling to see other standards of living, cultivating your lifestyle with like minded people. Figure out what you want to do when the kids receive gifts, gather nature items, get hand me downs, take home artwork, get party favors. Write a new list of gift ideas for birthdays and holidays that include more experiences, memberships, savings plans, clothes, and toys that will grow with them. Teach them how to save and buy something they really want- the patience and sacrifice required will teach him about the value of money and bring them more joy when obtained.
Embrace and enjoy a life of minimalism. Lead your kids with your own lifestyle and show them your own enjoyment and contentment. Minimalism with kids is a MISSION POSSIBLE but it will look different for every child/person/family.Read More
Ring, Ring! We are official Back to School! To set our families up for success, we’ve compiled some nanny tips and tricks for back to school. Nannies play an important role in transitioning from summer vacation to the school year. Summer vacation is highly anticipated, but the start of the school year might be partnered with some initial excitement and also some fears.
Drop-Offs and Pick-Ups: There is a YouTube video of a teacher from North Carolina, Mr. White, who greets his students with a unique handshake at the beginning of each day. The video shows him bringing joy to each student as he does individualized handshakes with each student. How fun would it be to create a handshake when you drop-off and/or pick-up the children in your care at school? Like Mr. White, you will connect with the child’s heart, bring a smile to their face, joy to their day, and memories to last a lifetime.
Lunch: To express your care throughout the day write a joke, riddle, or encouragement on a piece of paper and include it in their lunchbox. Does the child your caring for like puzzles or games? Put a puzzle piece in the child’s lunchbox each day and he will look forward to watching the picture come together as the days unfold.
Engaging After School. When you pick kids up from school you want to know about their day, but instead of asking a generic question like “How was school today?” which often elicits a one word response, try asking specific questions like, “Tell me about the student that sits next to you in school,” “Who is the funniest person in your class?” or “What was your favorite part of lunch?” Make a game and by writing questions down on paper, put them in a jar, and have the children pick a question out and answer it. This would also be a great time to follow up with the joke, riddle, or puzzle piece you put in their lunch as well.
After School Plans: The first couple of weeks of school are very exhausting, and children are buzzing from the new experiences, challenges, and routines. Plan the week so kids know what to expect but leave room to be spontaneous. Make sure to gauge their need for stimulation versus time to rest.
Do you have your own tips and tricks? We invite you to post on Instagram and tag Educated Nannies. We want to hear from you!Read More
It’s no secret that physical activity can improve your health and is important at every age. If you’ve always exercised before you were pregnant, but now worry about how much to too much while your pregnant, 360 Fit Haus offers some terrific tips.
Did you know that Pilates is one of the best and safest forms of exercise both during pregnancy and afterwards? We have seen an increased number of pregnant women turning to Pilates to stay fit and healthy both during and after their pregnancies.
In pre-natal Pilates, we focus on building up deep abdominal strength to support the weight of the baby; strengthening the lower back and pelvic floor muscles that are used during labor and delivery; creating postural support as the weight of the growing baby continues to pull the spine out of alignment; and doing targeted stretches for the hips, buttocks, lower back, and any other areas of the body that experience pregnancy-related aches and pains. Because Pilates can be modified for anyone’s ability, it’s safe to undertake if you haven’t been extremely active leading up to your pregnancy; or, we can continue with more athletic workouts as appropriate for your current fitness level. Additionally, pre-natal Pilates helps you calm your mind and improve your mind-body connection, learn how to breathe deeply, and increase circulation to the fetus. These are skills that will be helpful during and after labor and delivery. If you have never done Pilates before, it will be important for you to find a pre-natal Pilates class or an instructor who can give you a lot of one on one attention. It is not recommended that you begin doing Pilates on your own if you haven’t already worked with the fundamentals. Most Pilates exercises can be modified as your body and abilities change, so be sure to communicate with your instructor if you feel tired, out of breath, dizzy, or otherwise unwell.
Engaging Transverse Abdominal Muscles & Pelvic Floor
The transverse abdominal muscles are the deepest layer of the abs, and are felt to be working at the belly button and below. These lower abdominal muscles are the ones you feel when you cough. It is very important for pre-natal moms to work on their TA muscles, especially if there is a risk of diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal wall). We like to use a ball between the inner thighs for these exercises to help engage the abdominal muscles along with the inner thighs and pelvic floor.
1. Using Breath to Activate Lower Abdominals
You should feel like your stomach muscles are pulling into the body, not pushing outward. Squeeze the ball so you can feel some inner thigh resistance, and take a long inhale through your nose for 5 counts. Exhale 5 short exhales strongly through your mouth. Aim for 5-10 sets of this breath work.
2. Finding and Strengthening The Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor muscles are the foundation for the core of the body. They both help stabilize the pelvis and support the organs of the lower abdominal cavity. This supportive hammock of muscles, tendons, and ligaments are at the base of the pelvic bowl. Despite being so important, the pelvic floor muscles can be hard to feel! While seated, think of pulling the two bones in the bottom of your bottom together and up, like you are drawing the energy from your inner thighs up through the center of your pelvis to your belly, and then out through the crown of the head. The muscles strengthen gradually, so try to contract 15-20 reps, 3-4 times each day.
3. Mini Roll-Back/Roll-Back with Twist
Squeeze the ball and press your feet firmly against the mat as you start to round out your lower back and curl back towards the mat on an exhale. Go back until you feel the abdominal muscles, inhale as you pause in that position, then exhale as you return to the upright seated position. 8-10 reps.
Add in a rotation to challenge the obliques, or the muscles you feel in the sides of the waistline. Rotate towards one side, then curl back towards the mat on an exhale. Pause in that position as you inhale, then exhale to sit back up. Alternate sides, 8-10 reps each side.
4. Side Lying Hip Work
Lie on your side with your head on your arm for support. Use a small rolled up towel or pillow under your head if you need better support for your neck. Bend the underneath leg for stability and place your hand on the ball in front of you to keep some challenge in the abdominals. Make sure your hips are facing the same direction, as the top hip in particular loves to roll back in this position! Lift your top leg until you feel the glute and inner thigh muscles working on an exhale, then hover it over the mat when you come back down on the inhale. 10-15 reps on each side.
Pilates is beneficial post-partum in terms of helping you recover from the physical and emotional demands of childbirth. Due to Pilates’ focus on pelvic stability and correct abdominal engagement, we can gently strengthen the pelvic floor and abdominal wall muscles that got stretched out during pregnancy. We can also work on re-engaging the deep abdominal muscles if you delivered by C-section. This focus on correct abdominal engagement and pelvic floor recruitment will contribute to a flatter stomach, a trimmer silhouette, and bladder control. We also work to quickly build up arm and upper back strength for bending, lifting, and carrying your baby. Post-natal Pilates will increase your athletic endurance, help you release stress and sleep better, and improve your overall emotional and mental state.
Start off on all fours. Line up the shoulders over the hands, and the hips over the knees. On an exhale, round the spine up towards the ceiling without moving the shoulders or hips. On an inhale, stretch the spine as if the chest is pulling towards the fingertips and the tailbone is reaching towards the ceiling. Repeat 5-6 times.
Start off on all fours. Line up the shoulders over the hands, and the hips over the knees. The spine and pelvis are in a neutral position, so the ribs and belly are lifting away from the floor, while the shoulders are pressing apart to engage the lat muscles under the armpits. Without moving the hips, ribs, or supporting thigh bone, slowly extend one leg out behind you on the exhale, letting the toes stay on the mat. Inhale to return to your starting position. Alternate 8-10 reps. This is a great exercise for learning how to stabilize the new shape of your hips, as well as strengthening the upper body to carry the baby. Modification: If your wrists are uncomfortable with the arms straight, drop down to your forearms.
A qualified Pilates instructor (look for someone with a Pilates Method Alliance-approved comprehensive teaching credential) can help you prepare your body for the changes it undergoes during the prenatal period, the rigors of childbirth, and the needed rehabilitation after your baby is here! Experience a fit and healthy pregnancy and beyond with Pilates for Moms at 360 Fit Haus. 1400 Colorado Blvd. Suite C Los Angeles, CA 90041. firstname.lastname@example.org / 323.474.6315
Dr. Agnes Scoville, MD, is a mom, a doctor, a veteran, and creator of Pacidose. Here is a guide to safely and accurately give your child medication
How to give Medicine to a baby
Giving liquid medicine to an infant can be very frustrating. If you are having difficulty with this, you are not alone! Many medical studies show that babies frequently get the wrong dose of medicine, in part because they spit it out. This article will give some helpful hints and other general information about medication safety and will show you that there’s a new way to get the medicine to go down, fuss free, with Pacidose.
What is the best way to measure the right dose of medicine for my child?
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) both recommend that liquid medicine for babies be given in milliliters only. Use a standard oral syringe to measure the medicine. Teaspoons and tablespoons are confusing and inaccurate. The syringe on Pacidose has one side for milliliters (mL) and the other side for teaspoons (tsp) because some doctors still use teaspoons.
Avoid transferring medicine between devices because some will be lost in the process. That’s why an oral syringe plugs directly into Pacidose—no transferring. Also, other standard syringes from pharmacies should fit in the same connector. The Pacidose syringe is 5 milliliters (5 mL). A 10 mL syringe will also fit, so if you have an older child that needs more than 5 mL in a single dose, you can ask for that in a pharmacy or from your doctor. You can also ask your doctor if the medication comes in a higher concentration so the volume you give is less.
Always measure twice. After you draw up the medicine, check the measurement again. Apply a piece of tape to the outside of the syringe to help you remember the exact dose. This makes measuring really easy in the middle of the night.
Now attach the oral syringe to Pacidose. You are ready to give medicine to your infant the easy way.
If you do not have Pacidose, you can try to put the medicine in the side of your baby’s mouth, but the taste will be strong and he or she might spit the medicine right back out.
How else can I get my baby to take the medicine without a fight?
Give the medication when your child is hungry. And remove any distractions from the room. Sit down in a chair and hold your baby so you can easily introduce Pacidose. If you are relaxed your baby will be relaxed.
What if my baby won’t use a Pacifier?
If your baby does not use a pacifier, introduce Pacidose by loading the syringe with something familiar to your baby first. Let him or her drink the familiar liquid first, and get used to it. When comfortable with that liquid then load Pacidose with the medicine. Pacidose is still easier than a hard syringe!
Why can’t I just put the medicine in my baby bottle?
Here’s the problem. What if your baby then doesn’t drink the whole bottle? Then you still have the same issue: you don’t know how much your baby got because it’s now diluted with other liquid.
What if I ask the pharmacist to flavor the medicine for my baby?
Flavors work for some babies, but not all. And, if you’ve ever tasted them, you’ll agree it’s still not easy to get it down. Also, some flavoring agents contain dyes and other chemical agents.
Are there other ways to disguise the taste of medicine for my child?
Sure, you can do a few other things. Give you baby a Popsicle before the medicine to numb the taste buds. The same goes for the medicine. Put the medication in the refrigerator. Cold liquids don’t taste as strong.
Pacidose bypasses most of the taste buds and places the medicine on the back of the tongue. So you can chill the meds, chill the mouth and use Pacidose for a triple whammy to minimize rejection.
What if my baby spits up even something easy like Tylenol?
Try all the techniques above. If your baby has actually swallowed the medicine and is vomiting it back up, it becomes a little trickier. Most liquid is absorbed from the stomach in about an hour. If that time has past your child likely retained the full dose. If less time has passed, call your doctor to determine a re-dosing schedule or ask for a suppository.
How to give medicine to a toddler?
Older kids can sometimes be harder to medicate than infants because they are stronger and want more control. A toddler who refuses medicine can be a real challenge.
You can do three things. First, tell them the truth: they need the medicine if they want to feel better. And it may not taste good, but they need to take it. Once a child is about 3, he or she can understand logic so this sometimes works. You can also play the grown up card. “Being a grown up boy or girl means you have to do things sometimes that are hard.” Third, give a little control. Your toddler can choose when to take it, (before or after bath time) or choose which liquid to drink after the dose. You can offer milk or juice in Pacidose or from a cup as a chaser. Or a palate cleanser, as I liked to call it.
Are there any other tricks to help my older child take medicine?
Don’t forget the Oscar awards. Your child can play the doctor and give a stuffed animal the “medicine” (water). You can help your child draw up the liquid and give it to a stuffed animal. Miraculously the stuffed animal will dance around with joyful health.
What about over the counter medicine for cold and flu to my baby?
Avoid over the counter medicines for your young child. Many studies show that cold medications for kids under 6 are not helpful and may be harmful. You should check with your doctor for any medications that are not specifically recommended. A better way to treat runny nose, cough, and congestion is lots of TLC, fluids, rest and room humidifiers.
Lastly, it goes without saying, but I will say it. Keep all medicines and nonfood items out of reach of your kids. Be smart with you little ones.
With Father’s Day around the corner we asked one of our dad friends to share what Father’s Day means to him. Our guest, Cole Johnson is a father of seven sweet children and husband to his high school sweetheart, Daisha, whom he has been married to for 15 years. Cole loves playing ukulele with his eldest daughter, coaching his son’s football team and taking his youngest on walks to find bugs. Here are his thoughts on the meaning of Father’s Day!
Father’s Day was never a big deal to me and I never really appreciated it until one stressful weekend when I was traveling and couldn’t be with my family. My wife and kids had never done much for me on Father’s Day – a finger-painting of me, a cheap tie, maybe some pancakes and a card – so I didn’t think I would miss it much. But when the day came and went without any new socks, a homemade oven mitt, or even a quick and sticky hug from one of my littles… I about died from loneliness.
As I sat lumped upon the hotel bed watching an infomercial and thinking about my wife and kids a profound gloominess began to overtake me. At that point I recognized Father’s Day for what it was. A day I was thanked, a day to be seen, a day to be filled up. As a self-proclaimed emotionally unflappable man I recognized that I wasn’t immune to the severe need to be loved and appreciated or to have a special day set apart just for me. Like my wife and children I wanted – nay, REQUIRED – an occasional reminder that I’m missed, respected, and even adored. The love I’d felt on previous Father’s Days was the oil that kept my Dad-mobile running smoothly. A vehicle that requires very little maintenance and runs on just a few drops of gratitude and affection.
For dads, the little things ARE the big things. There may not be any ‘big things’ for fathers; kids can’t further their dad’s career, make the car payment, or even fix the dishwasher. But, on Father’s Day, our children have the perfect opportunity to thank us for what we do and love us for how we do them. Those homemade clay mugs and handprint collages may be the only tokens of the ‘what’, the ‘how’, and the ‘why’ we work so hard in our career, make the car payment, and fiddle with the appliances.
For Father’s Day this year I couldn’t be more excited to eat an over-cooked omelet, or try to decipher a messy crayon drawing, and maybe get a some snuggles from a quiver of stinky kids. Not because those things are a big deal but because these tiny acts are the ONLY deal. Father’s Day is my kids’ day once a year to thank me, fill my tank, and keep me going for 364 more. I learned my lesson and will never be away from my family again on Father’s Day weekend!
Happy Father’s Day to all of the very special dads who make life a little sweeter.Read More
Hello May! Mother’s Day is coming up soon. Are you ready? We all want to show the special moms in our lives how much we love and appreciate them. Flowers and a night off from cooking or the usual routine for mom is always appreciated, but how about thinking outside of the box to show your appreciation for her. Here are some unique Mother’s Day Gift Ideas!
Support mothers around the world: One thing that no one tells you about being a mom is that the worries of world weigh heavy in her heart. She will see her children in children around the world. With the advent of 24-hour news, the world’s suffering is broadcast each and every day. There is always a longing to help. There are countless organizations that do amazing work. Lending money in micro loans to help women support their families. A monthly donation to sponsor a women and writing letters of support. Is she especially concerned about the refugee crisis happening? Or does her heart lie more local? Either way, if her child is older, sit down with them and have them help pick a charity to give a donation in her name. This is a meaningful way to show your love and it will also touch her heart to know her child is learning such an important lesson.
The gift of time alone: Does she need time off? A ‘break’ from being a mother may be just what the doctor ordered this Mother’s Day! A few guilt-free hours alone in the afternoon can be absolute bliss! Is it hard for her to get away from the kids for a bit on a regular basis? Think about using our babysitting service, so mom can have some weekly time to read a book, get a mani/pedi or a massage. Or perhaps what mom needs is more quality time! Enroll in a class just for mom and child. Yoga, art, swimming or a mommy and me would be a wonderful gift to help mom spend more one on one time with a child.
Help check off mom’s to-do list: Spring is the time of year when moms are compiling lists of things that need to be done! Spring cleaning can be a big task, but think about how you can make it a bit easier for mom. Have the children help clear out the toy room and donate everything they don’t play with anymore. Does the garage have a collection of old bikes, sports equipment and other odds and ends that no one has touched in years? Get rid of it for her! Donate, throw out and recycle all those items that are no longer in use. Perhaps there is a list of things that need to be fixed around that house. If you can’t do that yourself, surprise her by hiring a handyman for a few hours to take care of that leaky faucet and broken lock. And of course, every mother would love a clean house. Arrange for a professional deep cleaning! When a home is clean, mom can certainly relax easier!
Whether mom needs a break, more quality time, help with the house or a way for her to show her concern and love for others, there are many options out there! The most important thing you can do is tell her you love her, you appreciate her and thank her for all the hard work she does.
Educated Nannies wishes you and your loved ones a very Happy Mother’s Day!
Natalie Oman, LA based mom of two daughters and a yorkie, encourages moms to take 5 minutes (or less) to improve their lives at her Instagram @5minMommy. Below are some tips to help you organize your playroom.
Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Where do they come from? How many do you actually have? Why do they seem to multiply at night?
As moms, nothing can be more frustrating than wrangling toys. At least for me anyway…
Do you struggle with the toy-multitude like I do? I have been searching “toy storage,” “toy organization,” “playroom hacks,” and “purging toys” since the day my first kid was able to hold a toy.
So what do we do? All of us exasperated moms that clean up the puzzles only to turn around and discover a mess of toy cars, so we clean up the cars only to turn around and discover a mess of crayons and coloring books…. and so it goes. on and on.
Well, it has taken a lot of trial and error, but I have come up with some ideas for you on how to minimize the clutter and maximize the play. Free printable checklist below.
Designate a Play Space and take stock of how much space you have. The space can be in their bedroom, in a playroom, or in part of another room (like the living room). Make sure this space can only be used for playing and it is a “yes” zone for the kids- free from breakables, adult decor, etc. If you are designating a spot in their bedroom, make sure there is still ample space for bed and sleep- putting toys too close to the bed can cause some little troublemakers to stay up and play all night instead of going to bed… not that my kids would do such a thing *ahem* Figure out how much storage you have- 6 bins? 2 book shelves? one wall of cubbies? It is important to take stock of the space you have instead of falling into the “I bet it could fit here” syndrome of packing things in. That’s not what this is about. This is about streamlining and organizing to maximize FUN and PLAY and LIFE- don’t you want that for your kids and yourself?!
Compile and group ALL the toys into categories and decide what to keep and what to give away/throw away. Taking stock of all that you have can be really helpful when you are deciding what to keep and what to toss/donate. So get them ALL out. Every last one. This process is gonna take some time so give yourself time to do it- don’t try to do this with only 15min of spare time and a whiny toddler following you around…unless that’s all the time you have in which case it’s better to start asap. Categorize toys into groups- building (blocks, legos), Figurines (dolls, action figures, plastic animals), Puzzles, Stuffed Animals, Dress Up Clothes, Home (play food, play plates/cups, play cleaning supplies), Arts/Crafts, etc. Immediately purge the broken toys. Next purge all the toys with missing pieces. Next purge all the toys that you dislike (I cannot stand certain toys that my kids play with so now I just toss them and save myself the aggravation. Somehow I think my kids like having a mom that doesn’t say, “Mommy doesn’t like that toy, can you play with something else?” cause what’s the point of having said toy if you can’t play with it…) Next purge all the toys your kids don’t play with- this can be hard for us adults. I’ve asked my 3 year old a few times to fill a box with toys to donate and every time she will toss something in that makes me cringe. I keep thinking, “Well, what if your Grandma comes to see us and asks about that toy?” or “but that toy probably cost your Aunt $100…” Stay strong, mama. If it is truly something you cannot part with because of family obligations or whatnot, set it aside for a toy rotation bin for the future. If they get something for Christmas that they aren’t into, save it for July and see if they like it then. Take a look at what you have left and continue to purge until you are comfortable with the amount of stuff taking up space in your life/house.
Find a spot for each category of toy and label it. Try to think in terms of ease of use, frequency, ease of cleanup, etc. It might make sense to keep puzzles higher up so they are out of reach of smaller children and put stuffed animals in bins on the floor. Then LABEL each area (with pictures or words depending on kids age). You can search Pinterest for free toy labels with words and pictures. You really want to make sure you label in a way that your kids understand- my 3 year old can put her own toys away as long as there is a picture on each bin! If the spot gets full before you put all the toys of that category away, do some more purging. Seriously, if all the stuffed animals don’t fit into the bin unless you sit on the lid while trying to close it, can you realistically expect your kids to do the same when they clean up the room? No? Well those 3 extra stuffed animals strewn about the floor does not a clean room make. In our house we have a chest of dress up clothes, two small plastic bins for stuffed animals, one bin for legos and building toys, one bin for small hard toys (birthday party favors, animal figurines, hard plastic alphabet letters), one bin for dolls and accessories, one bin for books, one drawer for puzzles and there are a couple free standing toys in our empty cubbies. Everything has a place.
Toy Bin Rotation (optional). Some moms find it easier to put a few of each category of toy into different bins- one for each day/week/month. So a bin for December might have a few building blocks, Holiday books/toys, a puzzle, and one musical instrument whereas a bin for July might have bubbles, swim toys, summer-time books/games/etc. (unless you live in the southern hemisphere). If you do a daily/weekly/monthly toy rotation, label bins with number in rotation or a month and decide that when one goes in, others go out. This works especially well for seasonal books/toys- ie. Christmas books go in December bin, Pumpkin books go in October, etc. It also works really well if you have incredibly limited play space, short toy attention spans, or you have too many toys to keep out all at once. I confess that the first time I tried monthly toy bins was just after a move to a new house. I had already purged the heck out of most of our belongings. When I started putting toys/books into the bins, I had enough toys to stock their room with the basics (legos, dress up clothes, etc) PLUS a monthly bin of seasonal toys for 8 months!!! Can you believe it?! We live in 1200 square feet and the girls play space is in their bedroom… What?! They were only 3 years and 6months old at the time. How do such tiny humans acquire so much stuff?! I clearly had more purging to do, LOL. ea
Teach your kids what goes where. This is one of the most important steps. Don’t expect their little brains to understand your organizational scheme without walking them through each bin/shelf. Show them the labels- if your child can’t read, make sure there are pictures. Open each bin so they can see exactly what toys are in there. If the label shows legos but you also want them to put in the building blocks in there too, open the bin and tell them both should live there. Show them what a clean playroom looks like and tell them that at cleanup time, this is what it needs to look like. Help them at clean up time the first few times as they learn how/where to put things away.
Create a plan for new toys. Giving gifts is a joy- especially giving toys to children. So it goes without saying that there will be more toys coming. Make a plan for how your family responds. Maybe you do “one toy in, one toy out” rule. Maybe you make a habit of “Holiday season donations” and mark the purge/donating on your calendar. Maybe you decide that at holidays and birthdays you need to ask for experiences, memberships, playdates, or cash for savings rather than toy presents. Whatever you decide, make sure the entire family knows the rule and is on board with the implementation.
What are your tips for the playroom/space? Comment with your tips and tricks.